I was on a call yesterday with our partner Vovici. During the call, we began discussing making HR relevant. Over the past several years, there have been a number of articles and presentations I have read and heard on making HR relevant. Those were during good economic times. Now, during these times, HR needs to work even harder to become relevant as Senior Leaders could see HR as a place to cut, especially entry-level or mid-level HR staff.
One way to make HR relevant is to tie HR initiatives to the business. Too often, HR initiatives are done because they feel right. There needs to be an ROI to every initiative. Here are a couple of examples:
• By measuring employee loyalty you can tie that to changes in business metrics like turnover, productivity, referrals, etc. You can also tie employee loyalty to customer perceptions. Once HR starts talking about impacting the customers, they will be seen as strategic and move from irrelevant to necessary and critical.
• If a training session is conducted, is there a noticeable increase in productivity?
• HR can review hiring practices to determine how much it is costing to replace a worker and how well they are doing placing employees.
This is a perfect opportunity for HR to send a message on how critical they are to an organization. I find HR to generally be risk averse, but if they are willing to step out and be seen as a critical and strategic part of the organization and not just a necessary evil, HR can emerge from this time as a key element in the success of any organization.